The Problems with the Gun Control Debate

I originally titled this post, “The Problem with the Gun Control Debate.” However, as soon as I started writing it, it was immediately clear there are many problems. I won’t presumed to catch them all in this post, but we’ll give it a shot.

It’s Largely a Non-Winnable Debate

There are three groups of people in this country; those that support private ownership of guns, those that oppose it and those who are ambivalent. I don’t think there has ever been a truly unbiased study that could get close to quantifying how many people live in each camp, but the fact that the last election resulted in an overwhelming victory for pro-gun candidates indicates that the pro-gun crowd is either larger or votes in higher numbers.

Most in the pro-gun camp oppose any new legislation on gun control—and for good reason. They believe that the ultimate goal of the most Anti-gun people is complete confiscation of all privately held firearms. Before you tell me that’s not true, Nancy Pelosi is on record staying she hopes the latest gun control scheme, “is a slippery slope.” Those hardcore gun banners want guns to only be in the hands of the government; the police and the military. They believe criminals will also give up their guns as they have in other countries where crimes committed with guns has been completely eliminated. Oh wait, that hasn’t happened. Ever. Sorry, I digress.

I also find it odd that all these leftists who are clamoring for guns to only reside in the hands of the police are the same ones who are regularly telling us how out of control and militarized the police have become and how they’re just mowing people down in the streets every single day. And yet, they are the only ones who should have guns. Emotionally-based arguments don’t hold up well, folks.

When one side is unwilling to move even an inch from their position, the debate is over before it starts. As someone who lives  firmly in the pro-gun camp, I know many of us are interested in coming up with solutions to accidental deaths, negligent deaths, suicides, and criminal usage of firearms. However, most of the gun control “solutions” do nothing but making it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise a God-given right.

For those thinking, “Well, Mike, give us a real solution then?” OK, here’s one. Michael Bloomberg has publicly stated that he will use $20,000,000 of his own money to fund anti-gun politicians in the mid-term elections, all in states he doesn’t even reside in. Aren’t you glad we got money out of politics? Anyway, how about instead of meddling in other people’s elections, he use that $20 Million to purchase 180,000 rapid-access gun safes for low-income people who own guns and also have small children in the house. These safes keep guns out of the hands of kids and keep them readily accessible for home defense. That alone could eliminate the deaths of 182.5 children each year. How about it Uncle Mike? Or do you not really care about the deaths of children?

The Debate is Largely Emotional

See how I made that transition? To be sure, there are some on the pro-gun side who just get whipped up in to a frenzy and scream, “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!” as soon as the discussion comes up. However, most of the writing and discussion I see on the topic has the anti-gun crowd being a lot more emotional. Facts are pretty much ignored in favor of emotional pleas that accuse gun owners of not caring about the deaths of innocents.

Quite frankly, that’s an ploy that’s getting old. Just the other day, I posted an article entitled 6 Reasons Your Right-Wing Friend isn’t Budging on Gun-Control. It was a well-written piece that does a good job why we’re so passionate about this. Predictably, it didn’t take long for someone to comment on the post with a photo montage of the victims killed in Las Vegas and comment, “I’m sure the article would have made them feel so much better if they weren’t dead.”

I decided not to feed the trolls. Though I have to admit, what I really wanted to post was, “And my point has been made.”  The constant conflating of evil sociopaths with law-abiding gun owners is getting really tiring. The aforementioned article mentions the “blood on their hands” argument, as if every single gun owner in America is personally responsible for the deaths of 58 in Las Vegas. This is of course, preposterous.

When some guy has 4 drinks too many, hops in his car and plows into a school bus that bursts in to flames and kills everyone on board, we don’t accuse everyone who has ever had a beer of having blood on their hands. We don’t immediately start talking about car control or banning alcohol (because that worked out so well last time). Some will immediately make the point that, “cars have other uses besides just killing people.” This, of course, is a stupid argument as guns have dozens of uses aside from killing people (see below). I’ve put well over 35,000 rounds down range in my life and I’ve yet to kill anyone. And I don’t even shoot that much compared to professional competitors. Some of those folks shoot 50,000 rounds a year or more. And yet, somehow they manage to avoid killing everyone around them…

Interestingly, I’ve not seen Jimmy Kimmel crying on national TV about the 500 people who have been killed in Chicago’s gang-ridden inner city so far this year—a city which boasts some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. Apparently he only cares about victims when they’re white.

See how the debate can get emotionally inflammatory really fast?

The Ignorance is Stupefying

It is astounding to me when I hear anti-gun commentators on TV or in print media stating the most idiotic things about guns. CBS News claimed Paddock used “automatic ammunition” in his attack. There is no such thing. They refer to any black rifle as a “high-powered weapon of war,” when it is neither high-powered or a weapon of war. Kevin De Leon claimed his “ghost gun” could fire “6,000 rounds a minute from its high-capacity magazine clip.” Reality is about 45 rounds a minute (according to the Bushmaster manual) and it’s a magazine, not a clip. AR does not stand for “Assault Rifle,” it stands for Armalite Rifle, the company that developed it. No military has ever fielded an AR-15.

The media constantly conflates semi-automatic and fully-automatic as if they are one in the same. They are not. They talk about the “gun show loophole” as if it was a real thing (it’s not). They claim anyone can buy a gun on the internet and have it shipped to their door. You can’t. They claim an AR was designed for killing as many people as quickly as possible. If that were true, the millions of people that use them every day for competition, plinking, pest control, hunting, sport and fun shooting are all doing it wrong. They claim the AR has no use for anything but mass killing. That is also absurd. It’s used every day for all the aforementioned purposes and it excels as a home-defense gun.

The latest display of ignorance is CNN’s demonstration of how a bump-fire stock works. Instead of showing an AR equipped with a bump fire stock, they show an M4A with a suppressor and grenade launcher equipped with a standard 6-position stock. They then animate the gun retracting and coming back out of the stock. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

They claim suppressors render guns completely silent and thus enable mass killers to do their work in secret. They’ve clearly never been to a range and watch way too much TV. They also seem to think that the only people who could possibly want a suppressor are criminals and assassins. My constantly ringing ears—tinnitus, due to exposure to gunshots while hunting—beg to differ.

One is an AR, one is a Shotgun. They are not the same.

Recently, a local station showed a guy shooting a watermelon with a pump-action shotgun saying as the footage rolls, “Watch this man shoot a watermelon with an AR-15.” My first thought was, “How does so much stupid fit in that small a head?” Seriously, just because a gun is painted black doesn’t mean it’s an AR-15. Learn to use the internets.

I could go on, and I may update this article as I see more examples of gross ignorance.

Back to the Problems

Well, those are the problems. You have two sides who aren’t going to budge on their positions. One side is woefully ignorant of the subject matter and can only make emotional arguments or claims based on incorrect information. But because enough celebrities, talking heads, politicians and bloggers keep regurgitating the same old tripe, the lies eventually become codified as the “truth.”

How do we have a productive conversation? Get educated. If you’re going to try to lecture me with on the dangers of gun ownership, you should at least know how they work. Learn the four rules of gun safety (oddly, Everytown for Gun Safety doesn’t have a single rule of gun safety on their website…I checked). Do some actual research that doesn’t include HuffPo and BuzzFeed. Check out Leah Libresco’s study. She started off in favor of gun control then came to the conclusion that all these “common sense gun reform” measures don’t actually accomplish anything.

Go to the range and shoot some guns. I will again publicly re-state my offer to take any anti-gun person or someone who is not familiar with guns to the range. We can shoot various types of guns, I’ll pay the range fees, provide the guns and ammo and even buy BBQ for lunch afterwards.

Finally, please stop telling me that I don’t care about the victims in Las Vegas (or Chicago, for that matter) who were killed by guns. Yes, I own guns, and yes I really enjoy shooting them. And yes I get pissed off when sociopaths and criminals use them for evil purposes. But I am not that sociopath or criminal any more than you are the drunk driver who kills children because you had a beer last weekend. The ad hominem arguments and virtue signaling needs to cease before we can have an intelligent conversation.

  2 comments for “The Problems with the Gun Control Debate

  1. Michael
    November 3, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Mike, this post saddens me. You call for dialogue, an open mind and an end to ad hominem attacks, and use terms like Madam Pantsuit and Apologizer-in-Chief.

    I’m not American, so I have an outsider’s perspective on this, but America has some unique stats when it comes to gun violence and suicides. Suggesting that there are gaps in the current system doesn’t mean that someone is against the Second Amendment. There are many countries where gun ownership is legal.

    I’m one of your readers from ChurchTechArts, and I popped over onto Twitter and saw that you had liked “The Las Vegas Shooting Information War – Part 34” from the “End Times Report” on YouTube. As much as you encourage others to get information from sources other than Buzzfeed and HuffPo, is your media diet diverse?

    To paraphrase Jean-Luc Picard, “the first duty of a [Christian] is to the Truth.” You have strong opinions on this. That’s fair.

    But something has to change, wouldn’t you agree? And the dialogue has to escalate beyond the false dillema and strawmen arguments on “both” sides. Let’s see more conversation about the Dickey Amendment and its effect on evidence-based decision-making. You want to talk money in politics? Let’s talk about the role of the NRA in public policy. Let’s talk about the fact that the Social Security Administration is no longer required to submit the names of certain mentally disabled beneficiaries to a federal agency that conducts gun background checks. (H.J.Res. 40,)

    America doesn’t have one gun problem – it has several. (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts)

    This isn’t the considered, genial Mike Sessler I’ve come to know from ChurchTechWeekly.

    • Mike
      November 12, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      OK, Michael, finally had some time to sit down and respond. First, you make valid points about my mocking names for Mrs. Clinton and Fmr. President Obama. While I personally have no respect for either of them and believe Mrs. Clinton should be in jail, if I learned nothing else from Band of Brothers, one salutes the office, not the man. I’ve updated the posts appropriately. Truth is, I don’t have to mock them to make a good argument. I already have a strong position.

      Second, I absolutely hate it when YouTube broadcasts likes–accidental and intentional–all over social media. In fact, this comment led me to track that setting down and kill it off. To your point, what are my news sources? Well, just today I’ve read articles from The Boston Globe, USA Today, Newsweek, The Atlantic, The New York Times and some small-town newspaper that I can’t recall. It’s not unusual for me to read articles from HuffPo and BuzzFeed, Vice, Vox, Politico and a bunch of others. I also read about 30-40 Pro-Second Amendment sites. So yeah, I’m pretty well-read on the subject.

      So, let’s talk about money in politics. Michael Bloomberg just spent $10 Million in Virginia to elect Anti-Second Amendment politicians. The NRA has spent less than that in the last 5 years. Bloomberg has committed to spending a minimum of $20 Million a year to fight the Second Amendment. So yeah, it’s an issue. Keep in mind, the NRA is a members-organization and most of their money comes in $25 at a time from the 5-million-ish members. Bloomberg looses more money in his couch than the NRA spends in a year.

      And yes, Trump rescinded the Obama administration’s Executive Order that allowed an unelected bureaucrat to take away someone’s Constitutionally protected right. If an older person had their adult child or a friend or lawyer or financial planner helping them with their finances, the SSA could remove their Second Amendment rights with the stroke of a pen. Here in the US, we have an issue with that. We value due process.

      I’m all in favor of restricting the rights of actually mentally unstable people when it comes to guns (and cars, and drugs). However, we have a process for that. All the parties in question can go before a judge who declares the individual mentally incompetent, and that person can’t get a gun anymore. No problem with that. As long as it’s out in the open and there is due process. What’s really dangerous is that a third party can “declare” someone unfit and that person loses their rights without recourse, or knowledge. It’s the same problem with the Terrorist Watch List and the No-Fly, No By list. No one knows how you get on the list, or how you can get off.

      As if that weren’t bad enough, the same government that actually has these processes in place doesn’t even do it correctly. The mentally deranged individual that shot up a church in Texas last week was adjudicated mentally defective. He had domestic violence convictions. He actually committed four felonies when he filled out his 4473 form to buy the gun. All that was possible because the Air Force–a US Government agency–failed to submit any of this to NICS. Do you think adding more laws and power to the government is going to fix this?

      You are correct, America doesn’t have a gun problem. As I wrote in If Guns Were The Problem…, we really don’t have a “gun-violence” problem. We have a violence problem, we have a societal breakdown problem, we have a inner-city gang problem and we have a criminal justice problem. But when you look at deaths by gun (after taking out suicides), guns don’t even make the top 25 list of things that will kill you in this country. But, because we have a bunch of grandstanding leftist politicians who really want a disarmed populace, and a left-leaning media only too happy to breathlessly spend two weeks reporting every shooting that fits the narrative, it looks like we do.

      According to the CDC, you are almost 3 times more likely to be killed by urinary catheterization than a mass shooting in the US. Twice as likely to die by being stung by hornets or bees than in a mass shooting. These numbers are from between 1999-2015, and are averages. Of course, we have a couple larger mass shootings this year that will skew the numbers. But even with those, the percentages are infinitesimal. We’re a country of 330,000,000 people. And if you’re not in a gang, don’t commit crime or plan on suicide, your chances of dying by gunfire is 0.000008564102564%. This does not diminish the grief and suffering the victims and the families experience. But 120 people were killed in car accidents yesterday. Those victims’ families will grieve no less.

      An Islamic terrorist rented a Home Depot truck and mowed down dozens of people in New York, killing 8. New York City Mayor called for more gun control. Does that make any sense?

      That 26 people were killed in a church in a small town in Texas is terribly tragic. However, a man with a gun–an “evil” AR-15 at that–shot the maniac before he could go cause more mayhem. According to the CDC, guns are used defensively by citizens somewhere between 300,000 and 1,000,000 times a year. Most of those don’t even involve a single shot fired.

      I’m the same old genial guy I’ve always been. But when someone attacks or threatens me, my family or my way of life, we’re going to have a problem. I don’t live in fear, but I do understand evil is a real thing, and evil people exist in the world. There is no law on the books or in anyone’s head that will ever make evil people not be evil. The only thing we can do is be prepared for it should it visit us.

      This is getting long and I have two more comments to reply to (both yours, interestingly). So, I’ll leave it there.

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